Date: 16 OCT 2011
SRINAGAR to IMPHAL SAVE SHARMILA JAN KARWANstarted its 4500 Km. journey to highlight Irom Sharmila’s cause, who is on hunger protest since last 10 years for her demand to repeal AFSPA. The karwan is organized by Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign. Campaign is a joint initiative of various social organizations and movements who are extending their solidarity towards the cause.
Social activists from all parts have come here at Srinagar to start the journey. Around 25 activists first went to Hazratbal to offer their prayer for peace and harmony. Renowned activists Medha Patekar, Megsesay awardee Dr. Sandeep Pandey and Irom Singhjit (brother of Irom Sharmila) also came here for the karwan.
From Hazratbal, karwan arrived here at Pratap Park where activists addressed the public and talked to media. Medha Patekar, Dr. Sandeep Pandey, Parveena Ahenger (Chairman, Praents of Disappeared Person), Irom Singhjit (brother of Irom Sharmila) flagged off the karwan led by Faisal Khan. At the time many activists from J&K including Shahabul Haque, Dr. Raza Muzaffar, Firdoos Ahmed Bhawani, Shahnawaz Mir, Tanveer Hussain, Dr. Ghulam Rasool and activists from Manipur Irom Singhjit (brother of Irom Sharmila) and Babloo were alo present there.
Medha Patekar told that we all are against AFSPA and all such laws that violates basic human right. Violence is not recommended in any form. She told that democratic values are in danger everywhere in Kashmir and north east and thus we all started the journey from here to show or solidarity. She also told that cases of disappeared persons should also get listed and government should attend the issues during her address to public.
Megsesay awardee Dr. Sandeep Pandey told that we want to raise the issue of Irom among public. He also told that Kashmir should get enough respect and attention to establish democratic values perfectly.
Er. Ab. Rashid told that we are facing humiliations here and thus we welcome the move of all activists who are raising their voice towards humanity and human rights.
Faisal Khan informed that it is first time when any such journey is organized to protect democratic values and gandhian values. Irom has become a symbol of peace and a voice raise the issue of AFSPA. J&K is also affected from this law on one side and thus we all decided to start the journey from here. Karwan will travel through 10 states and will reach Imphal on 27th October. Mr. Khan told that we are organizing Srinagar to Imphal Jan Karwan to spread awareness about Irom Sharmila and to generate public support for her. Mr. Khan told that our main objective is to make public opinion about sufferings of people who are affected with AFSPA. We will conduct various activities such as pamphlet distribution, public meetings, press meet, nukkar natak etc, throughout the route. We will focus on states where people don’t know about irom and her cause and consequences of AFSPA. We believe that there is no place of such laws in democracy. We are against violencein any form and we oppose all such laws because these are unfit and non aligned with gandhian values. These laws are not dangerous for the public only, but these laws also created a rift between public and administration.We feel that public opinion in non victim states (where AFSPA is not imposed) to repeal AFSPA is very much required to save democracy and justice. He told that this journey will cover 10 states and around 4500 Km. It will move from Srinagar to Imphal via Jammu, Ludhiana, Karnal, Panipat, New Delhi, Aligarh, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Ranchi, Kolkata and Guwahati. Journey will start on 16th October and will reach Imphal on 27th October. On an average we will cover more than one crore of population with the demand to repeal AFSPA.
Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign told that the campaign has already launched nationwide protest. This is first time in history when any such campaign that is focused to repeal AFSPA has been launched in 21 states of India. Irom Sharmila, who is on hunger strike since the year 2000 has been ignored by government. Civil society has also not done much for the cause. AFSPA is imposed in J&K and NE states and many thousands people have been killed, tortured, lost in these states. Irom Sharmila is demanding to repeal AFSPA and she has become a symbol of peace and a strong voice against AFSPA. Hence, we all have to extend our support for her fight. J&K is affected with AFSPA on one side and NE states on another. Hence, the journey will start from Srinagar.
Activists of J&K told that we also support the Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign. We believe that it is our responsibility to extend our support towards the cause. We are victims of AFSPA and we are raising our voice since last many years. We have already seen many peace conferences and seminars in Kashmir but this is first time when a whole campaign is launched. I hope it will be a historical journey from Srinagar to Imphal because no such effort was made ever before. We welcome this move because AFSPA is the basic problem of Kashmir. People who are going towards larger population through this journey are really doing a nice job. We all are dedicated towards the cause. We all extending our support towards this campaign as the campaign is raising the basic issue of AFSPA which is important not only for J&K and NE states (victim states) but for other states too, as it will address the problems of democratic values.
Activists who are in karwan to meet with Irom Sharmila, includes Senior gandhians like Suresh Bhai (Bihar) & Balwant Yadav, Satya Prakash Bharat, Md. Iqbal, Asit Das, Gufran Khan, Adil Khan, Inamul Hasan, Ravi Nitesh, Ehsan Raza, Mahendra Sonawale, Md. Arish, Panakj Pathak, Bilal Kagzi, Ghulam Md. Gorsee, Shabbir, Sarwar, Ghulam Md. Will participate. Some women activists with Shahnaz from Gujrat also joined the karwan from Srinagar.
Campaign members told that many others will also join the karwan from many places of the route. This karwan will travel through Jammu, Ludhiana, Karnal, Panipat, New Delhi, Aligarh, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varansai, Patna, Ranchi, Kolkata, Guwahati and Imphal.
The campaign has already received support of more than 70 organizations including National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM), Asha Parivar, Khudai Khidmatgar, Mission Bhartiyam, Sadbhav mission, ANHAD, J&K RTI Movement, INSAF, PEACE, Centre for Social justice (J&K), Yuva Koshish, SAMAR, Le Mashale, Society for Youth Development, Asian Centre for Social Studies, Just Peace Foundation, We The Common People (WTCP), Student Islamic Organization (SIO), Mahila Chetna Kendra, Inqualab Zindabad, Society for Youth Development, Save Democracy Repeal AFSPA, Rights Initiative, Islamic Releif & Research Trust (Kashmir), Inderwar Educational Society (Kishtwar), Chenab Welfare and Educational Trust (Doda) and many others.
Departed from Srinagar at 7:00 PM